Body By Science

This is an outstanding book that challenged many of my beliefs about weight training.

Body by Science
Body by Science by Doug McGuff and John Little makes a damn good case for super slow weight training. As I stated in a previous post, I read this book because I am unconvinced that slow training is superior to normal or explosive training. Did this book convince me? Not fully. I still have my doubts, but far less than before. The slow movement contradicts so much of what others in the fitness field have been teaching. Because of this, I need to do more research on this important point. That debate will be shelved for an upcoming post.

Body by Science will be accessible to most readers, but there are a few chapters that are very heavy in science. Those chapters will require several readings for complete comprehension, but they aren’t necessary to put the program into place. Body by Science goes into why high-intensity weight lifting is superior to all other forms of exercise. This book trashes aerobic conditioning in scientific terms to the point that no one would ever step onto a treadmill after reading Body by Science.

The chapter on fat loss has a lot of good information that covers hormones and the fallacy that steady-state aerobics make you leaner. However, the authors come to the same old incomplete conclusion by promoting that caloric restriction is necessary for fat loss.

…there’s no getting around the fact that calories must be restricted.

Gary Taubes in the book Good Calories, Bad Calories, did a brilliant job researching all the medical literature on obesity research and came to the conclusion that one must reduce insulin, not calories, to generate permanent fat loss. Restricting calories will result in weight loss initially, but the body will respond by initiating a stronger hunger response and/or slowing down. Considering how Body by Science went into details on the connection between elevated insulin levels and obesity, even going as far as to cite how morbidly obese can’t get nutrients to their muscle cells while eating thousands of calories, because of the elevated insulin levels, I am surprised they stated that “calories must be restricted“. If caloric restriction could cure obesity, dietary success rates would be much higher.

Despite their calories statement, I loved this book. Body by Science will take a place in my library and I will refer to it in the future. Will I be following the slow-motion weight-lifting protocol? Stay tuned for a post that explores that debate and my decision.

UPDATE 2014: Back when I first posted this I was still one of those people duped by Gary Taubes. So just ignore the cross-outed portion.¬†Body by Science is the greatest fitness book I’ve ever read. I’ve become a HIT convert. Doug McGuff and John Little are the best.

1 Comment

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  1. I was surprised by their claim of 1lbs of muscle burning around 35 calories a day, which is different from the number from the number in Why We Get Fat (~5-7 kcal/day) and this article:,8599,1914857-2,00.html
    (6kcal/day in a resting body). Otherwise it’s an interesting book.

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